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Vaping Research Contradicting Itself Again; Hilarity Ensues

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From time to time, we are privy to stellar electronic cigarette research. Even if the evidence is not exactly in our favour, we will publish it. But, finding solid evidence in our day and age is difficult. In today’s media-focused world, it’s hard to find actual data-driven research. Nowadays, a lot of hyperbole is used, and that is further exacerbated by social media.

What’s worse is that there are a lot of staunchly anti-e cig groups and individuals. Do these peoples vaping hatred play a role in their conclusions? We used to have to go out on a limb and say – yeah, no doubt. But now, it’s no longer a theory of ours – it’s fact.

Dr. Stanton Glantz, from the University of California San Francisco, is a well-known professor and leading tobacco control activist who happens to be a hardcore, regular opponent of vaping. No, this isn’t some ‘no-name’ scientist who conducts unrealistic tests on e-cigarettes and e-liquids. Rather, Dr. Glantz is an esteemed professor, with awards and honours from the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, and several other foundations/organisations. So when his research was distributed worldwide, everyone took notice.

Dr. Glantz’s research set out to prove, once and for all, that vaping is a gateway to smoking tobacco. It studied over 3,750 students (freshman) over a 12-month period to determine if initial vaping usage led to trying tobacco cigarettes for the first time or to smoking tobacco ‘at the follow-up.’

The conclusion was anything but surprising. The authors contributed to the same old story line. “Limiting…access…may be beneficial.” Or, in layman’s terms: stricter, Archean regulations and higher taxes…and outright vaping bans of course.

But as proponents of vaping were sifting through the report, they came across something shocking – that e-cigs are not a gateway to smoking. Out of the over 3,750 students that participated in the study, a mere 6 of them transitioned from vaping to tobacco cigarettes…or 0.0016%. There’s more positivity to the outcome, such as the fact that twenty students who were only smoking tobacco switched to vaping entirely by the end of the 12-month period and an additional 45 dual users (vaping and tobacco users) also switched entirely to e-cigs by the end of the trial. Furthermore, and perhaps more damning, is that the data showed that e-cig users were no more likely to start smoking tobacco cigarettes than non-smokers.

Yes, Dr. Glantz’s research, the one that set out to prove e-cigs are a gateway to smoking tobacco cigarettes, actually proved otherwise. We would have laughed but this theory has already been reported countless times as either false or, in best case scenario, highly unlikely.

And, just when you thought it was over, it got hilarious. Though the data completely contradicted Dr. Galntz’s views on e-cigs being a gateway product to tobacco, and even major media outlets and blogs called out the contradictory research (here, here, and here), Dr. Glantz tweeted that, “Starting with e-cigs triples odds of starting cigarettes among college students; the evidence just keeps piling up.” The evidence keeps piling up? Really, doc? And if that wasn’t funny enough, check out some of the responses to that tweet, including this one:

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There’s nothing like good, solid Internet trolling.

Photo Credit: Flickr – Marc Kjerland/CC BY 2.0